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Baking with honey: Substituting Honey for Sugar

Baking with honey instead of table sugar can be done, once you understand the differences and how to adjust for them! We've emphasized the really important points.

How much Honey to Use?

When substituting honey for granulated table sugar in recipes, keep in mind, honey has more fructose than table sugar, so it is sweeter.

In general, use 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey for each cup of sugar in the baking recipe

It is a good idea to make a test run first; using both honey and sugar; just swapping honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe.

More Tips and Considerations

  1. Honey adds moisture that table sugar does not have; reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
  2. Because honey is acidic and sugar isn't, in order for the baked goods to rise, you need to compensate by adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.
  3. Because honey has more sugar per cup, it will brown or caramelize quicker than sugar; so reduce the temperature of the oven by 25°F.
  4. Honey is much more dense (weighs more per cup)
  5. Oil the measuring cup to stop honey from sticking to measuring cups: brush or spray the liquid measuring cup with oil before measuring and the honey will slide out easily

Honey adds flavor

Honey adds its own flavor to the finished product - that's usually a good thing, but something to keep in mind with subtle flavors.

And since honey has different natural flavors, choose a honey that complements your recipe.  For example, if you are making something with lemon, like lemon squares, try orange blossom honey.

Recipes using honey in baking

The National Honey Board has their own tested recipes using honey in baking.  These would probably work best:

Substituting honey for other sweeteners

  • Molasses: To substitute honey for molasses, use exactly the same amount. The resulting flavor and color will be a but lighter and less heavy. The reverse is true if you swap molasses for honey.
  • Corn Syrup: To substitute honey for corn syrup, use exactly the same amount, but reduce any other sweet ingredients, since honey has more sweetening power than corn syrup.
  • Brown Sugar (Demerara sugar or dark brown sugar): Follow the equation for plain table sugar under General Recommendations, but also substitute molasses for a portion of the honey to retain the expected flavor - (brown sugar is just white sugar where the molasses have not been completely removed by refining). Brown sugar, on the other hand, attracts moisture, so it will keep baked goods from drying out so quickly. Also, brown sugar has some molasses in it, which adds moisture, and certainly changes the taste.
  • Raw Sugar (Soft Brown Sugar): Basically, raw sugar is similar to dark brown sugar, but has much smaller crystals and a higher portion of retained molasses, so follow the guidelines for substituting honey for sugar above. If substituting raw sugar for regular cane sugar or brown sugar, use about 20% more raw sugar.
  • Treacle is the British generic name for molasses or any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane. Common names used are Treacle, Black Treacle, Molasses, Golden Syrup and Blackstrap. "Lyle's Golden Syrup" is the most commonly used brand in cooking. Follow the same guidelines for molasses, above.


  1. Sioux Bee Honey
  2. National Honey Board